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Local entrepreneurs hope downtown renovations will revitalize downtown Keokuk

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KEOKUK, Ia. (WGEM) -

Bare storefronts are scattered all across Main Street in Keokuk.

Now, some local entrepreneurs are looking to fill those stores again and bring more business back to downtown Keokuk.

The cleaning process continued Tuesday in the property that use to house Flowers By Daryl, but has been an abandoned eyesore for a while.

Developer David Baum of Commercial Contractors decided to pick up this property for $1,000 at the Lee County property tax sale in May.

"What we're hoping to do is bring business back to the downtown area," said Baum.

And Baum says when the building is fully renovated, it could offer many opportunities to entrepreneurs.

"We got two apartments that can be rehabbed and two store fronts down here or make it into one store front to either make it a bar or grill or a store front for someone who wants to open up a decent size store," said Baum.

Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion agrees that renovations like the ones Baum is doing not only adds to the aesthetics of the city, but is a financial boost as well.

"Everybody sees downtown. We're a highway street through. We have a long downtown. Plus, it adds to the tax base because anytime you put a piece of property it adds," said Marion.

Baum says he's not the only one who took advantage of the deals at the tax sale to help revitalize the downtown area.

"There's quite a bit of work going on in Keokuk at this point. There's other people doing the same thing," said Baum.

One of those people is Kathie Mahoney who is working on this property on the same block.

Mahoney hopes to turn a building into an Irish dance studio and some residential space.

Baum says for him, it's not only about money, but a way to help the city of Keokuk.

"This is an opportunity to better the community," said Baum.

Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion says the other homes that were purchased in this tax sale will also save the city money because they paid $22,000 last year to mow them and they're hoping to save money this year. 

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